First Valve Slide and more



  • I am a 70 year old comeback player of 3 1/2 years. I have taken a few lessons, but not consistently. It is rare that I don’t practice or play at least one hour per day, and very often practice or play 2 or more hours. These sessions can be broken up during the day, or uninterrupted. I have had an issue with endurance and noted two factors that have independently immediately improved my endurance. 1) I switched from a 1 1/2 mouthpiece to a 7c. 2) I noted that with the 7c, my endurance increased further by playing on a Flip Oakes Wildthing rather then my Mt. Vernon Bach Stradivarius.
    Prior to the switch I would be blowing airballs at 30-45 minutes into a community band concert playing second trumpet. After the switch I can play the entire concert with out any problems, and play first trumpet without problems in a less challenging band.
    You might ask, if your endurance problem has improved overnight, what is the point of this post? The problem I have is that low F (first space on the staff), low E, and of course low D are all very sharp, even to my untrained ear, and confirmed on my meter on the Wildthing only, no matter which mouthpiece I use. I have to compensate by extending the first slide for the F and E. The D I expect would be sharp on most horns, including the Bach. On both horns there is a saddle to adjust the first slide. My question is, is this characteristic of my playing abilities including embrasure, or the horn? If it is a common characteristic of the horn, what other horns commonly require first valve slide adjustment for these and other notes.
    I want to stress that this is not a knock on the Wildthing. Obviously saddles and triggers are on the first valve slides of most trumpets for a reason. At this point, for me, the Wildthing is the most efficient horn for me, as far as physicality and endurance. I am just trying to make sure it is not a correctable characteristic of my playing causing this, and if not, how frequently first valve slide adjustments are needed as wella ss under what circumstances.
    Thanks for you patience.



  • @SSmith1226 The F being sharp is very unusual. E and D will be sharp and need a bit of correction. That being said, vintage instruments (the days before first valve slides) often had a slightly too long first valve slide. Someone that had habits from a vintage instrument can have acclimatisation issues when switching to a "new" horn. If it bothers you, there is nothing wrong with putting a spacer on the first valve so that it does not go all the way in.



  • Or just giving it some time to readjust.
    That happens in the sax world, often. Someone will switch horns and then comment that notes on horn X are out of whack, when they had adjusted to the notes on their previous horn that it became unconscious. You might just want to give it some more time and see if it doesn't "right" itself.

    BTW, I've also never had a horn with a sharp "F", either.



  • Thanks for both of your opinions. Relative to the spacer suggestion, is it possible that the valves need an alignment?



  • @SSmith1226 said in First Valve Slide and more:

    Thanks for both of your opinions. Relative to the spacer suggestion, is it possible that the valves need an alignment?

    Out of alignment valves cause more "focus" issues with the tone, not direct intonation problems.



  • For what it’s worth, when I first got my Getzen Eterna, which was my first real pro trumpet, I tended to be flat on the F for some reason. It did seem to resolve itself the more warmed up I got. I think I had developed some habits out of necessity on my Bach TR300.


  • Qualified Repair Techs Credentialed Professional

    It is possible that your endurance increased because the Bach had worn valves and took more work.

    I have found, especially with mature age students, that sharp lower notes are often due to TMJ issues.



  • @Trumpetsplus said in First Valve Slide and more:

    It is possible that your endurance increased because the Bach had worn valves and took more work.

    A very good point. Before I started reading these trumpet blogs, I was very naive about horn subtleties. Before I went on a trumpet buying frenzy, I only had my Olds Recording. Played it for years, and it did take a lot of effort to blow but it didn't bother me. I decided to send it to Tom Green as the valves were clicking and the finish was wearing. He told me the compression was terrible and asked me if he also wanted me to do valve work along with the refurbish. I told him to do this and when the horn returned, my my did it play more accurate and required less effort to play.



  • Used to purposely use an Eb first slide on D trumpet to get the d in the staff in tune, and kicked out the first slide a tad on other notes.



  • A note of caution about about the Wild Thing first slide. The slide inner is constructed of very thin tube and it is extremely easy to distort or otherwise damage it. I was having some issues with the slide snagging in closed position (you do need it for those Es and As) and thought it might be a good idea to deburr the inner ends on a wine cork. I wasn't careful enough and it was the devil's own job to get the inner near true again. It's not quite as snaggy as it used to be, but I generally now play Es and As with third which is one solution at least.

    Never had any issue with the F. Could you be subconsciously lifting the F a bit to compensate for the sharp notes around it (D, E, A)? I found that practising long tones over drones helped a lot with finding the sweet spot (not just unison - work the fifths and major thirds too and listen for the sum and difference tones to fall in tune).



  • @Trumpetsplus said in First Valve Slide and more:

    It is possible that your endurance increased because the Bach had worn valves and took more work.

    I have found, especially with mature age students, that sharp lower notes are often due to TMJ issues.
    Not sure what "TMJ" means.
    Here are my guesses:
    Never mind. Better just tell me. I will stay out of trouble this way.



  • Ivan and Dr.Go- I had all three valves rebuilt just under three years ago. As far as I know compression is still good, but I will check them again, you never know.
    As far as TMJ (Temperomandibular Joint) problems, I have no clicking, headache, mastication problem, pain, discomfort, or disability in these areas.
    Lastly, who are you calling “mature”?
    Seth and VB thanks for your input.
    Wayne- see above.
    Again, thanks everyone for their help and suggestions.



  • @SSmith1226 said in First Valve Slide and more:

    Ivan and Dr.Go- I had all three valves rebuilt just under three years ago. As far as I know compression is still good, but I will check them again, you never know.
    As far as TMJ (Temperomandibular Joint) problems, I have no clicking, headache, mastication problem, pain, discomfort, or disability in these areas.
    Lastly, who are you calling “mature”?
    Seth and VB thanks for your input.
    Wayne- see above.
    Again, thanks everyone for their help and suggestions.

    No wonder I didn’t know



  • The top line F is sharp on my Bach 184 cornet. I always have to trigger the 1st valve slide a little to get it in tune. How sharp it is varies with the mouthpiece I'm using. The top line F on my Bach 43 trumpet is spot-on in tune, though.


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